Researching with and for Children

Activity: Attending or organising an eventAttending/organising a Conference


Enacting participatory learning in the Early Years through a place-based approach

When exploring pedagogical approaches in the Early Years, it is easy to look beyond the places in which we learn and focus our attention on the children and the curricular outcomes we want them to achieve. I suggest, however that by recognising and harnessing the active role places can play in learning that we can work towards to model of curriculum-making (Ross and Mannion, 2012). Such a model supports the enactment of meaningful knowledge creation through the ‘process of living in the world rather than…representing it.’ (Ross and Mannion, 2012, p.305). Such meaningful knowledge creation is enabled by taking a relational and participatory view of children’s actions and interactions within the physical, social and cultural worlds that they themselves are part of, and impact on. By employing a walking-based pedagogy (Morris, 2010) with a class of Primary 1 and 2 children, I was able to analyse the learning they enacted and identify the active role that place played in the children’s meaning making. Through the process of walking together in our local community it became apparent that the physical geography was not simply a platform for activity, but an essential part of our meaning-making explorations.

Key words: early years, place-based pedagogy, curriculum-making, participatory learning, walking
Period8 May 20179 May 2017
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map


  • Place-based learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Early Years
  • Walking
  • Drawing